Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Youth Vote in the Presidential Election

In a sign of the direction that the youth vote took Tuesday in the presidential election, the pre-kindergarten through first-graders of Brighton's Baldwin Early Learning Center voted more than three-and-a-half-to-one for Senator Barack Obama over Senator John McCain.

Senator Obama's victory margin at the Baldwin ELC was very similar to his margin among adults city-wide, which he won 78.9% to 19.4%. The kids voted at around an 80% rate, better than the adults city-wide who had a 61.6% turnout of registered voters. A bigger landslide was registered at Hamilton Elementary School.

There were no lines of voters snaking out the door at the school. The secrecy of the ballot was maintained -- i.e., nobody wrote their names on the top of their ballots. No provisional ballots were cast, nor did election officials request IDs from any of the student voters. Only around 10% of the kids' ballots were declared invalid (by the first-graders acting as the election workers) as overvotes -- a remarkably low number since more than half the voters were pre-kindergarten students.

The students clearly learned a lot about the basics of voting and elections. Next they plan to vote on a referendum dictating the flavor of milk to be served in the cafeteria.

Image of ballot cast for Obama cribbed from

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